Who am I? Just some thirty-two year old nobody from central Massachusetts. And that gives me about as much right as anyone to make comments about the future of the Republican party. Well, not really, but I think I have a pitch and maybe it will get the two or three people who read this blog thinking about these things and generating some discussion. In any case, here goes.
I really liked the article that I read in National Review after the election calling for "principled" conservative leaders. I don't know exactly why it is that politicians tend to go bad. I was reading an interview today with Robert Novak, who has been in Washington since 1957 covering politics, and he said that he has met more bad politicians than good ones. And he didn't mean that they weren't good at the job, he meant they were bad people.
I think, at every level, we should be looking at the character of politicians. We shouldn't just be thinking "Hey, there's nothing really wrong with this guy." We should be thinking "This is an outstanding individual and I want him in Washington." When we're concerned with our pocketbooks, we want to make sure nothing is wrong. When we want to save the lives of 1.5 million unborn children per year, we want a hero. It's possible. Now's the time, let's do it.
Also, I think there is a lot of debate at the moment regarding which "camps" will define the Republican party moving forward. There's the social conservative camp, the fiscal conservative camp, and then there's the Log Cabin Republicans. It's interesting, the single-most important issue to me is abortion. To your average fiscal conservative, abortion is a non-issue. But on the other hand, there is common ground in the idea of cultural continuity and limited government.
A fiscal conservative, at least the hypothetical average fiscal conservative, would be interested in maintaining stable cultural supports such as marriage and family. By and large, these are issues that support the fiscal bedrock of our nation and enable us to act with strength in the event of a crisis.
Speaking personally, as a social conservative, I am in favor of limited government and a re-focus of responsibility on the individual. This means lower taxes, fewer government programs, and a smaller social welfare net.
The point is, that there is a lot of common ground. I would like to skip the four to eight years of soul-searching that many pundits are projecting. I would also like to encourage and foster the idea that principled leaders are out there, and that they can make it into office with our help.
A little more on that: when I was dating my wife I didn't consider certain parts of her life off-limits when making a judgement about whether or not she was the right person for me to marry. I looked into how she treated her family, how she felt about God, and what she did for those who were less fortunate. My judgement was very harsh in these areas, and she passed. I don't do the same for the guy pumping my gas or making my coffee. I think that the severity of our assessment of politicians should be closer to a potential spouse than to a potential gas pumper.
Just my two cents.